Cancer treatments can take a tremendous toll on your life. Your mind, body and spirit are under a huge burden in your battle for wellness. Engaging in a self-care program can promote your overall well-being and improve your quality of life.
Effects of Cancer
Your entire being is under strain when fighting cancer. As explained by some professionals you may experience the following effects:
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is tending to your physical, mental and spiritual health. It’s important to participate in a program that promotes your overall well-being, especially when coping with cancer and its effects. A good self-care program should include these aspects:
Exercise. Keeping a fitness routine is important to your body’s strength, and it can help reduce depression and anxiety. Some experts recommend taking walks, since getting into fresh air and sunshine can lift your mood and clear your mind. Discuss your physical fitness options with your healthcare provider.
Sleep and rest. Your body needs rest to heal and recuperate. It’s important to budget your energy, so be aware of when you feel best and try to focus activities during those times.
Spirituality. As explained by Living Beyond Breast Cancer, being spiritually engaged can provide strength and help you cope with stress. Meditation and prayer can sustain you during difficult times, and you can participate on your own, with friends, or with a spiritual leader or counselor.
Connect. It’s important not to neglect your support network. Some studies show that contact with loved ones, as well as prayer and meditation, are among the most important aspects to keeping a good quality of life when battling cancer. Don’t become isolated during your treatment. Stay connected with those special people who make you feel good.
Relax. You’re under a lot of stress, so it’s important to engage some coping skills. Do some deep breathing exercises to increase feelings of wellness and release negativity. Try creative visualization to enhance your sense of control in life. And schedule a massage or acupuncture session, since participating in both is an effective way to improve relaxation, reduce cancer-related pain, and manage the side effects of treatment. Make sure you find a therapist with expertise in treating cancer patients.
Create. Being creative is a boon to your well-being, improving your outlook and relieving stress. Find something you enjoy and make it part of your wellness program, whether it’s singing, crafting, dancing, playing an instrument, journaling or painting.
Enjoy. Find things to laugh about. They say laughter is the best medicine, and it can help you feel more relaxed and reduce your stress levels. Also, spend time with your pets. Pets offer unconditional love, opportunities for exercise, structure, and comfort. If you struggle some days with the responsibilities involved with pet care, reach out to a good friend or family member to assist you.
Cancer and Addiction
During and after cancer treatment, you may be in significant pain. Treating pain with opioids is an accepted method, but you should be aware they are potentially addictive. As DrugRehab suggests, you should ask about any pain prescriptions you receive. It’s important for you to understand the potential risks and discuss them with your doctor, especially if you or someone in your family has a history of substance abuse.
Self-Care and Cancer
Your battle with cancer can leave you weary physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s more important than ever to participate in a self-care program. Promote your well-being by nurturing yourself. You’re worth it!
A Note About our Guest Author
Scott Sanders is the creator of CancerWell.org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer.